Capsule reviews

I know you’ll be astonished by this news, but we actually managed to watch two whole movies last weekend! One of them I was very excited about (so excited, in fact, that I set foot in a Blockbuster because Netflix doesn’t have it yet), and one I was only sort of interested in, but I enjoyed both quite a bit. What were they, you ask? Well …

Jane Eyre (2011)

FINALLY. My feelings about the newest adaptation of one of my favorite novels ran the gamut from completely disinterested to finally refusing to wait a month for Netflix to send it to me. That last bit of impatience was mostly due to seeing Michael Fassbender in X-Men: First Class and realizing that he is a very, very good actor. I had been very skeptical of the casting of Jane Eyre for some time, but as it turns out, I shouldn’t have been.
The acting is the strong point (very strong indeed) of the film. Mia Wasikowska made a very fine Jane, and Fassbender absolutely owned as Rochester. The magnificent Judi Dench made a truly excellent supporting turn as Mrs. Fairfax, and I wish Jamie Bell had gotten a little bit more screen time as St. John Rivers. The film is also very beautiful to look at, and I think it hit all the right notes of the story. Where it fell down for me was in its pacing, and in having lost some of the gothic feel of the novel. If I remember correctly, the trailers tried to play up the “creepy” angle, but I found none of that to actually be in evidence in the final cut.
Overall, the movie is absolutely worth seeing for the performances, but it’s my opinion that perhaps Jane Eyre is just not a novel to be served well by film adaptations. Too much of the overall feel and heart of the novel was lost, and there’s really not enough “action” to hold a movie together when large chunks of the book are taken up by narration. I guess I’ll have to get around to seeing some of the other adaptations (yes, yes, Dalton, I know) and see if they’ll prove me wrong.

Hancock (2008)

This one was in my husband’s Netflix queue, and I sat down to watch it despite being fairly ambivalent about the whole thing. And actually … I kind of loved it. A lot of the basic tenets of superhero-dom are rather impractical, and as much as I enjoy a good superhero movie, they always sort of bother me. Things like … who cleans up the mess?
Hancock addresses this by being the story of a superhero (Will Smith) who is sort of a public relations disaster. Even though he fights crime, he’s still seen as kind of a freak and an outcast. As such, he’s also a drunk and an a**hole, and the city in which he lives is tired of putting up with his messes. Enter Ray (Jason Bateman), a down-on-his-luck PR guy. After Hancock saves his life, he decides to make cleaning up the hero’s act his project, against the wishes of his wife Mary (Charlize Theron).
I’m sure you can see where this all goes, at least in part. I won’t spoil it for you. I really enjoyed the tone of the movie and the way in which the downsides of being a superhero were addressed. The second half of the movie gets a little bogged down and frankly, hard to follow, but overall I think that the talent here manages to pull it through and sell the whole thing. The cinematography is a little funky, and sometimes the effects look pretty cheap, but again, it’s the stars you’ll want to watch. Definitely recommended for fans of the genre.

Yay, movies! Did you guys watch anything fun this weekend? It’s now the turn of Crash and The World is Not Enough (a rewatch, but we’re finishing up the James Bond project) to sit around on the coffee table for a while. Coming into a busy stretch of time, but I’ll try to make sure my loyal readers have something with which to waste a few minutes, I promise!

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2 responses to “Capsule reviews

  1. Interesting that you loved Hancock! 😀 Most people consider it a pretty big bust. I really liked some elements of it, most notably the first half hour or so as the premise of the unwilling superhero who isn’t really interested about using his powers to save people unfolds in a somewhat comical way. But then, Eddie Marsan drop in on the party and goes downhill fast. The villain was really, really weak I thought.

  2. Hey, LOVE the new layout and header on your site, Sam! Wahoo, glad you finally saw JE. I’m glad you feel the same way I do, despite the good performances & stylish direction, I was left wanting more. You summed it up perfectly here…”too much of the overall feel and heart of the novel was lost…” I hope you get around to seeing the Dalton version. As far as Rochester goes, he is still the one to beat for me.

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